Our Mission: Offering compassionate, faith-based recovery services to mothers and their children.
United Way

Sojourner House's United Way Contributor Choice Code is #4286!  


If your employer participates in a United Way giving campaign, select Contributor Choice Code #4286 on your United Way donation form to support the mothers and children at Sojourner House.  Encourage your co-workers to do the same!


Giving through the United Way is a wonderful way to empower mothers working to break the intergenerational cycle of addiction.  Your gift will provide housing and supportive services to help families heal and rebuild, ensuring a bright future for mothers and children.  Thank you for your support!


Sojourner Housewarming Parties


The popular Sojourner Housewarming Party program has returned. For years, the concept of in-home parties has helped national companies sell everything from plastic bowls, to fragrant soaps and candles, to bracelets and earrings. Sojourner House uses the casual home setting to spread the word about its programs that help local mothers and children to rebuild their families as they recover from addiction and homelessness.


Housewarming parties are held in the homes of Sojourner House friends (board, staff, volunteers, donors, and community members) who invite 10 to 20 friends to enjoy refreshments and each other's company, all for a good cause. The parties are held at lunch, over cookies and coffee in the afternoon, or during evening gatherings. They include a brief talk about Sojourner House's mission and work from a staff or board member. Guests are asked to bring a household item, monetary gift or gift card for a Sojourner House family.  At the end of the event, guests are asked if they would be interested in hosting a housewarming party. 


If you are interested in learning more about Sojourner Housewarming Parties, contact Laura Stephany, director of development, 412.441.7783 ext. 24 or lstephany@sjhpa.org.




Editor's Note

June's newsletter article "Sankofa Opens" noted that founding executive director Dr. Norma Raiff attended the open house.  While Raiff was the first executive director of Sojourner House MOMS, she was not the founding executive of Sojourner House. 

Special thanks to founding Sojourner House board member Dr. Gerri Maurer for the correction. Maurer notes: "I was the chair of the search committee to fill the executive director position when we hired Norma. It took us months! We had nearly 30 candidates apply." Sojourner House thanks Dr. Maurer and her fellow founders their hard work getting the organization up and running!





Rites of Passage


rit·u·al noun

1.            a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.


Seeing your drug dealer across the street; touching the bag of heroin he surreptitiously places in your palm; hearing the flick of the lighter as your finger rolls across the striker wheel; the bittersweet smell of tan powder cooking over a cheap metal spoon. The act of drug use is ritualistic is nature. The user participates in a specific series of actions, these actions often being the hardest habits to break. But the mothers of Sojourner House welcomed a new ritual into their lives, and left the old ones at the Sojourner House entrance.


Last week, residents gathered to observe rituals symbolizing their journey on the road to recovery. Led by counselor and assistant clinical supervisor, Karen Garland, and joined by a program graduate, mothers shared prayers, words of inspiration and motivation, and congratulations on reaching milestones in their recovery. 


Before the ceremony began, parent educator Latina Jenkins stressed: "You can change the whole dynamic of your life and your children's lives, but you have to start now."  Rituals included planting seeds to grow "recovery plants," symbolizing the women's growth as they progress through the program.  One by one, residents lined up to receive their plant from counselor Cheryl Coney, who told each mother "All I can give you is a seed."  Ms. Garland explained that women who thrive in their recovery often find their plants grow prolifically.  When mothers are working through issues and face stumbling blocks, their plants often falter.  She provided gardening advice that can easily be applied to recovery: "The most important thing you can do with your plant is to be patient.  Don't be too prideful to ask for help."


Residents listened to an impending graduate's reading of "The Bumblebee," reiterating the importance of faith in overcoming addiction: 


According to laws

Of aerodynamics

The bumble bee cannot fly;


Its body is too

Heavy for its wings

And that's the simple

Reason why.


But the bumble bee

Doesn't know this fact,

And so it flies anyway

For all to see.


Remember this when you're

Losing faith or hope

God's proof that the impossible

Can be.


The morning culminated when the women stepped outside and were greeted by the brilliant July sun.  A returning graduate participated in an act women dream of upon entering the program.  With her young daughter in her arms and the Sojourner House team and residents looking on, she dipped her hand in paint.  Like numerous mothers before her, she placed her hand on the Sojourner House fence, adding to a rainbow of hand prints commemorating women's successful program completion. 


Adding to this colorful scene, Ms. Jenkins appeared with an array of balloons.  Each mother wrote an obstacle on their recovery journey on a balloon.  Together, the women reached toward the sky and released their balloons, collectively shedding their burdens and symbolically letting go.  On a wall in Sojourner House, a plaque reads: "Let go, let God." Each mother's participation in last week's rituals embodies this mantra as they strive to build better lives for themselves and their children.


Ms. Karen Garland facilitates as Sojourner House residents observe recovery rituals this month.




Thank you for reading Sojourner House's Newsletter.  In each issue, you'll learn about recent happenings at Sojourner House, as well as current and upcoming news and events.  For more information or if you have a suggestion, please contact Laura Stephany, director of development, at  lstephany@sjhpa.org